How to Flush Sediment Out of a Water Heater
The information contained in this article is provided solely for the purpose of providing general information and does not constitute professional advice. With respect to this material, LANDMARK HOME WARRANTY makes no claim to be an expert in the subject matter, and you should conduct your own research and/or seek the advice of appropriately qualified professionals with respect to your specific circumstances before taking action. LANDMARK HOME WARRANTY makes no claim to be an expert in the subject matter, and you should conduct your own research and/or seek the advice of appropriately qualified professionals with respect to your specific circumstances before taking action.
Every homeowner understands the need of regularly cleaning and maintaining their systems and appliances.
The removal of silt from a water heater can extend its lifespan and increase its efficiency.
By removing sediment from your water heater, you may save money while also heating your water more quickly.
Learn more about how a water heater works so that you can better understand how to clean out your tank.
1. Turn the Water Heater Off
If you have an electric water heater, make sure the power switch is turned off before continuing. Ensure that your water heater is a gas heater, such as the one seen in the photo above, by setting your thermostat to “pilot.” This shuts down the heating element in your water heater, allowing the water to cool down as a result. Ensure that no one in your home is currently attempting to take a shower, wash dishes, or do a load of laundry before beginning this home repair chore.
2. Turn the Cold Water Valve Off
Close the cold water valve and turn it off. When cold water is introduced into the tank and dispenses with the hot water, the water heater circulates the hot water around your home. You may entirely empty your tank of water if you don’t have any cold water coming into it from outside. If you skip this step, you’ll wind up with water constantly flowing into the tank and down the drain, which might result in a significant increase in your monthly water bill.
3. Let the water cool.
Don’t dump scorching hot water down the drain. Allow the tank to cool after the heating components have been turned off. Some bigger water heater tanks might take up to two hours to complete the process.
4. Attach a drain or garden hose to the drain valve on the side of the tank
Drain your water heater by connecting a hose to the drain valve located on the side of the unit.
Make certain that the hose is properly screwed on, otherwise you may experience leaks when you drain your water heater tank from the faucet.
5. Place the end of the hose in a bucket or drain.
Drain your water heater by connecting a hose to the drain valve located on the side of the tank. You should make certain that the hose is fully secured in order to avoid leaks while draining your water heater tank.
6. Turn on a faucet (or two)
The use of faucets around your house might help prevent a vacuum from accumulating inside your plumbing system. Turn on the “hot” setting on your faucets and leave them running. Due to the fact that you have shut off the cold water valve to your water heater, there will be little or no warm water displaced through them.
7. Start draining the tank by turning on the drain valve.
Turn the valve on carefully with a flathead screwdriver, making sure there are no leaks and that the bucket or drain you are emptying the water into is not going to overflow while doing so.
8. After the water heater tank has finished draining the sediment, turn the drain valve off, remove the hose, turn the cold water valve on, and turn the heating elements in the water heater back on.
You are almost through with your water heater cleanup once you have thoroughly emptied it and removed all of the debris from the tank. In order to refill your tank, close the drain valve and remove the hose from the tank. Turn the cold water valve back on and the heating elements back on by turning the knobs on the thermostat. Check to see that your faucets are still turned on, and after the water is flowing normally again, turn them off. You’ll need to wait around 30 minutes before checking for hot water.
- Do you want to learn more about water heaters and why yours might not be working as effectively as it should?
- When it comes to water heaters (up to 70 gallons), Landmark Home Warranty provides plans that will cover them if they fail due to regular wear and tear.
- If your water heater stops working and you have a Landmark Home Warranty protection plan, you may be able to have it fixed or replaced for the price of a service call if the problem is covered by the conditions of your contract.
How to Flush a Water Heater
Time a few of hours Complexity IntermediateCost$51–100
Have you cleansed your water heater in the last several months? This crucial task should be completed at least once a year in order to eliminate silt that has accumulated at the bottom of the tank. This is especially true if you reside in a hard-water location, which is common in the Midwest. Because it’s out of sight, it’s easy to forget about it, but accumulated sediment affects the heating effectiveness of your water heater, which results in higher energy bills.
- Has it been a while since you last cleansed your water heater? In order to eliminate silt that has accumulated at the bottom of the tank, this crucial task should be completed once a year. Especially if you reside in a region with hard water, this is true. Because it’s out of sight, it’s easy to forget about it, but accumulated sediment affects the heating effectiveness of your water heater, which results in increased energy expenses.
If you haven’t cleansed your water heater before, or if you haven’t done so in a long time, you might be in for a nasty surprise in the shape of sediment buildup, which can limit the life of your heater significantly. A popping or rumbling sound emanating from your water heater is one symptom that you have an excessive accumulation of sediment. The sound you’re hearing is the sound of steam bubbles rising through the sludge. When sediment builds up in a gas water heater, it causes hot spots that can damage the tank and lead it to fail prematurely.
As a result, understanding how to drain and flush a water heater will pay dividends in the form of cheaper energy costs and a longer heater life. This is what the sediment in your water heater looks like in terms of appearance.
Project step-by-step (8)
- A 1-1/2-inch PVC x 3/4-inch FIP adapter (A) is glued to the end of a female PVC trap adapter (B).
- Please keep in mind that this will allow you to attach your vacuum to 3/4-inch tubing. The barbed fitting (C) attaches to vinyl tubing with an inside diameter of 1/2 inch.
Drain Water Heater Liquid
- Shut off the water heater by turning off the gas or electricity. Make sure that the hot water faucet is running full blast for around 10 minutes to lessen the water temperature in the tank
- Otherwise, the water will boil. Closing the cold water valve at the top of the tank and connecting a garden hose to the existing drain valve and routing it to a floor drain are the first steps.
- Using a kitchen strainer to capture the silt will help prevent the sediment from clogging the floor drain.
- Make sure that a hot water faucet on an upstairs floor is turned on, as well as the water heater drain valve Wait until sediment jams the valve and causes flow to be reduced before flushing. Close the hot water faucet and the water heater drain valve on the second floor. Remove the temperature-pressure release valve and replace it with the vacuum adapter
- Then repeat the process. Connect the shop vacuum hose to the vacuum and turn it on
- Note: This creates suction in the tank, preventing you from getting drenched when you remove the old drain valve.
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Remove the Old Valve
- By rotating the plastic nut below the knob, you may unscrew and remove the valve while exerting suction via the TPR port with a shop vacuum, and then replace it.
- Tips: If it breaks off in pieces, saw the fractured area with a hacksaw blade until you come across metallic threads. After that, chisel away at the parts using a hammer and screwdriver.
Assemble the New Valve
- In order to assemble all of the 3/4-inch fittings, you must first remove the handle from the ball valve
- A new drain valve made of a 3/4-inch full-port brass ball valve with threaded ends, a 3-inch x 3/4-inch galvanized nipple, and a 3/4-inch G.H. garden hose adapter (such as the BrassCraft/Plumbshop No. HU22-12-12TP) is an excellent solution.
- Note: As soon as you open the drain valve, the sediment will most likely plug it, preventing you from completely shutting the valve once the water has been drained out. A sediment buildup and a leaky water heater will be the result. It is not only possible for an ancient drain to get clogged, but it is also impossible to suck material via its narrow hole. Because of this, you’ll need to construct a new drain valve.
Install the New Valve
- In order to use the new full-port valve, make sure it is closed. One end of the garden hose should be connected to the valve, and the other end should be directed into a colander put over the floor drain.
After you have flushed the water heater, remove the ball valve handle, especially if the water heater is in a location where people may stroll by and accidently hit the handle. Upon opening, hot water might be released, resulting in severe burns. In order to prevent it from falling out of the handle, twist knot it to the valve. Step 6: Organize your thoughts and feelings about the situation.
Flush the Tank
- Following a thorough flushing of the water heater, remove the ball valve handle, particularly if the water heater is in a location where people may stroll by and accidently bump the handle. Upon opening, hot water may be released, resulting in severe burns. In order to prevent it from falling out of your hand, twist knot it to the valve. Step 6: Organize your thoughts and feelings about your situation.
- Advice from the experts: The majority of the silt will be flushed out through the full-port valve. To remove the remainder, open the cold water valve at the top of the tank in short bursts, blasting the water toward the drain until it runs clear.
The full-port valve will flush out the majority of the silt, which is a good thing to know. If there’s any remaining water, open the cold water valve at the top of the tank and blow it down the drain in quick bursts.
- Remove the full-port valve and use a shop vacuum adaptor and 1/2-inch vinyl tubing to suction out any leftover silt from the system. Upon completion, close the ball valve and leave it in place, but remove the lever handle to avoid an inadvertent opening of the valve. Replace the TPR valve and blow-off tube, and then reinstall them.
Remove the full-port valve and use a shop vacuum adaptor and 1/2-inch vinyl tubing to suction out any leftover silt; then replace the valve. Upon completion, close the ball valve and leave it in place, but remove the lever handle to avoid an inadvertent opening of the valve; Replace the TPR valve and blow-off tube after that.
- Remove the full-port valve and use a shop vacuum adaptor and 1/2-inch vinyl tubing to suction out any leftover silt. When you’re finished, shut the ball valve and leave it in place, but remove the lever handle to avoid inadvertent opening
- After that, replace the TPR valve and blow-off tube.
How to Dissolve Water Heater Sediment
Minerals naturally found in water separate and settle in the bottom of a water heater when it is heated. Over time, the silt accumulates, decreasing the performance of the unit in terms of heating and storing water, as well as the possibility of damage to the water heater. Even while this occurs in all water heaters and with all types of water, it occurs more quickly with hard water because it has a larger concentration of natural minerals. Draining and cleaning your gas water heater with a cleaner is the most effective technique to dissolve the sediment and keep your unit operating at peak performance levels.
Gas Water Heater
- The cold water supply line should be located on your unit, and the valve handle should be turned counterclockwise (toward the left) until it is in the off position. To turn off the gas to the unit, locate and close the cutoff valve to the gas line. Allow 20 to 30 minutes for your water heater to cool down before using it.
- In order to drain the water heater, connect a long garden hose to it at its base. The hose should be connected in the same way that it would be connected to the hose bib on the outside of your home. Place the other end of the hose in a tub if one is available, or run it outdoors or into a large bucket if none is available.
- Then, open the drain valve on your hot water heater and turn on the hot water in one or more taps around your home to its maximum setting. Keep waiting until there is no more water dripping from either end of the hose or from your faucet
- Disconnect the water line from the top of the tank and place a funnel in the opening created by the drain valve and the water line disconnector. Pour clean water into your water heater through the funnel according to the size of your water heater and the guidelines for the cleaning agent you’ve chosen. For a 40-gallon tank, you will normally pour 2 gallons of clean water into the tank and then mix an additional 2 gallons of water with the cleaner before adding the cleaner to the tank. This mixture should also be poured through the funnel.
- Disconnect the water line from the top of the tank and place a funnel in the opening created by the drain valve and the water line disconnecting. In accordance with the size of your water heater and the guidelines for the cleaning product, pour clean water into your water heater through the funnel. For a 40-gallon tank, you will normally pour 2 gallons of clean water into the tank and then mix an additional 2 gallons of water with the cleaner before filling the tank with water. This combination should also be pumped through the funnel.
- Using a funnel, remove and re-attach the water supply line. Remove the burner from the stove. Open both the cold-water valve and the drain valve at the same time, making sure that the hose is still linked to the drain valve, and drain the solution out of your water heater. To flush out the tank, leave the drain valve open for 10 to 15 minutes while the water is still running through it
- Shut off the water heater’s drain valve, disconnect the hose, and allow it to refill.
- If you have hard water in your house, you should get a professional to install a water softener. As a result, many of the minerals present in hard water will dissolve, allowing you to go longer periods of time between flushing and cleaning your water heater.
Electric Water Heater
- To switch off your water heater, first turn off the circuit breaker, and then cut off the water supply. Allow 20 to 30 minutes for the water in the unit to cool down before continuing.
- Join an outside hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the unit and direct the other end of the hose outdoors to either a large bucket or an adjacent tub to collect any excess water. Open a hot water faucet in your home just a smidgeon more than usual. Afterwards, open the drain valve and let all of the water in your water heater to drain out.
- Turn on the cold water supply while the garden hose is still attached and the drain valve is left open to allow the water to flow. Allow water to circulate through the device to flush out any silt that may have accumulated. It indicates that the unit is clean when the water pouring out of the end of the hose is crystal clear.
Close the drain valve and take the hose out of the system. Wait for the unit to replenish for about an hour before attempting to use the hot water again.
Things You Will Need
- The following items are required: garden hose
- Large bucket
- Residential water heater cleaning
- Water softener
- After you have drained the water heater, the water that comes out of your faucet may be harsher or quicker than usual. This is due to the fact that your pipes are being refilled. Allow it to run for one to two minutes and it will return to regular operation. Some cleaning solutions for residential water heaters are designed particularly for use with gas water heaters. If the instructions are unclear or if you have any issues, you should contact the manufacturer.
4 Ways to Remove Sediment from Your Water Heater
Any homeowner’s main goal is maximizing the life expectancy of their appliances. All things considered, they ensure that everything runs well throughout the house and make life in general simpler. Certain appliances, on the other hand, may be at risk of developing hard water issues. Your water heater, for example, is hardly a low-cost purchase. Knowing how to prevent water heater sediment buildup is critical to ensuring that the unit’s operation is at its top. We’ve compiled a list of four strategies to help you remain one step ahead of any problems.
1. Flushing Your Unit
Any homeowner’s main priority is extending the life of their appliances. All things considered, they keep the house operating smoothly and make life in general a little simpler. Water hardness can pose a threat to some types of equipment, according to the EPA.
It is not inexpensive to purchase a water heater. Being aware of ways to prevent water heater sediment buildup is critical to ensuring that your unit operates at top performance. Listed below are four strategies to help you remain on top of any problems that may come up.
2. Vinegar Soak
Despite the fact that vinegar is widely used in the kitchen, do not underestimate its potential to work away at that water heater sediment! We also recommend that it be used on a daily basis for cleaning and prevention of hard water stains and build-up. It is possible that after draining your unit you may want to use this chance to pour a gallon of cider vinegar into the tank. First and foremost, you’ll want to stop the drain valve to allow your water heater to soak for a good, long time. Ideally, six hours should be adequate, while extra time would not be a bad idea.
3. Maintain Temperature
If you have your thermostat set too high, you might encourage the growth of scale. Water heater manufacturers recommend that the optimal temperature for your water heater be 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Any higher than this and you run the danger of increasing silt accumulation. Regarding heat and scale buildup, the hotter your water gets, the more minerals such as magnesium and calcium are left behind as solid deposits in your plumbing system. One more strategy to keep the buildup in your unit at bay is to avoid raising the temperature any higher than it already is.
4. Water Softener Installation
If you want a sure-fire, long-term solution to preventing water heater sediment, consider installing a water softening system in your home. In order for this to operate, it must first remove the ions that cause hardness of your water (and thus affecting your appliances, plumbing, and even have health effects). Calcium and magnesium dissolved ions are filtered out and swapped for sodium ions during the purification process. Despite the fact that water softening systems are a more expensive solution that requires installation and maintenance, they are worth it in the long term.
Make an appointment with us for a free water quality demonstration to check that your water heater is operating at peak capacity.
Give us a call if you have any questions concerning the condition of your water heater or the accumulation of silt.
How to clean sediment out of water heater
|Step by step Do-it-yourself starts here|
|Step 1:Turn power OFFNever assume power is OFFUse non-contact voltage tester on timer, on wire, on outlet to see if power is present.Press button on tester, if single beep then no power is present. If continuous beep then power is present.Never stand on bare ground, always stand on dry boards, do not hold or touch anything metal when working on timer or water heater that has power, tape tester leads to wood sticks, never touch wet water heater, or flooded water heater, or timer that had a short or fire without turning power OFF.Buy:Multimeters at AmazonSimple multimeter/ Test continuity or voltageBuy non-contact voltage tester at AmazonElectric testers at AmazonResourceHow to test if water heater electricity is off|
|Step 2: See if tank will drain Do NOT turn off water full pressure is neededConnect garden hose to water heater.Rotate tank drain counter-clockwise to open.See if water comes out end of hose. Wait.Do Not drain tank yet Weight of water inside tank will hold tank in place when looseneing element.|
|Clogged drain?Connect washing machine hose to water heater drain-valve Connect garden hose between outdoor spigot and washing machine hoseturn on outdoor spigot for a few seconds so water pressure flushes tank openResourcesWhat to do if water heater will not drainHow to replace drain valve|
|Step 3: Turn off cold waterTurn off water going into water heater. Do this by shutting off water valve just above water heater -or- close main shut-off valve to houseThis will stop all hot water going to each faucet|
|Step 4: Open tub valve ON HOT SIDE onlyThis will release hot water pressureThis will let air into line so water heater will drainLeave tub valve open so at end of job you know when tank is full of waterbeforeelectricity is turned back on.|
|Step 5: Remove cover and insulationCover and insulation must be put back when finished.Otherwise thermostat will not read correct temperature.|
|See Larger||Step 6:Check for Burned wire melted parts Use nose to check for burned smell.Use eyes to look for burned and melted partsDamaged wire can be caused by sediment filling bottom of the tank and then overheating element.ResourceHow to test water heater wires|
|Cut back damaged wireAny damaged wire must be repairedUse wire nut to extend wire if necessaryUsual wire size for inside of tanks is12 solid copper wire/ never replace with stranded wireResourceTest wiresHow to test water heater wires|
|Step 7:Choose Element wrench or socketLightweight 1-1/2″ element wrench available hardware store, home center, plumbing supplyBest is 1-1/2″ socket from automovive supplyI use the socket because it grabs the element easierBuy:Water heater element socket 1-1/2″ at AmazonHeating element wrenches at AmazonCamco heavy duty element socket Marathon elements are 1-7/8″|
|Optional purchase: Electric impact wrench for elementsUse for removal of element only.Do not tighten element with impact wrenchBuyImpact wrenches at AmazonSpecial 1-1/2″ socket for elements|
|Step 8:SLIGHTLY Loosen element while tank is full of waterLoosen element SLIGHTLY while tank is FULLWhy? So weight of water will hold tank while you push on and twist wrenchTurn element wrench counter-clockwiseMust push on wrench to keep it in position on element, or wrench will slip offDo not remove element completely until tank is empty -or- water will flood out hole ResourceAlso good time to check anode rodHow to replace anode rod|
|How to remove stuck element/ open the linkTorch, WD40, drill bolt holes and remove with wrench, use impact wrenchMake sure water heater is full of water / for weight / when loosening elementResourceRemove rusted/stuck element|
|Step 9:Drain tankOpen drain valve located at bottom of tank|
|Step 10:Remove element and old O ring – after tank is drainedTake out old elementElement will have rubber ring that seals the tank. Remove O ring and element.Before going further,Check inside tank for loose pipe coming from top broken dip tubecauses reduced hot water and wasted electricityResourcesDip tubesAnode rod|
|Step 11: Assemble shop vac and hosesI use the hoses that are shown.The element opening is 1″ in diameterGarden hose bends into tank3/4″ PVC is nice fit with garden hose1″ clear tube fits 3/4″ PVC30″ piece of 1/2″ CPVC reaches back of tankBuy:Wet dry vacs at Amazon|
|Step 12: Vacuum out tankTape hoses together with duct tape. Clear package tape also works. Masking tape does not work.Turn vacuum ON. Insert hose or pipe. Move hose or pipe around. Remove and clean end of hose or pipe as needed.Clear tube is handy Length of 1″ clear tube lets you see if sediment is flowing past. Sediment is a slurry of water and calcium carbonate that clogs the pipe easilyso it’s handy when you can see when the stuff is flowing past.Short piece of garden hose bends into tank.Use 1/2″ cpvc to break up debrisProtect carpet from rusty waterBuy:Duct tape from AmazonShop vacs at Amazon|
|It doesn’t have to be perfectIt willnotbe perfect. that’s okBuyTank rinser at AmazonResourceHow to clean tank and household pipes with bleachHow to maintain water heater|
|Step 14: Check new elementO ringPut new O ring in placeUse new O ringDo not re-use old O ringTest new element if you want: ResourceHow to test element for continuity|
|Step 15: Clean opening and install elementWipe off around opening.Do NOT use teflon tape or any sealantnot necessary unless tank is damaged|
|Step 16: Tighten element Don’t overtighten, a firm snug is enough|
|Step 17: Attach wires to either screw Tighten screws very tight against copper wireOnly solid copper wire, No insulation under the screw head|
|Step 18:Close drainput covers on Close drainput cover and insulation onturn on waterDo NOT turn power ON until tank is full of waterInsulation must be reinstalled over thermostatDo not turn on circuit breaker until tank is full of water Drain valve drips?Use garden hose cap if drain valve dripsBuy Buy brass garden hose cap at amazon ResourceHow to replace drain valve|
|If drain will not stop dripping: add brass hose capPick up plastic hose cap at local big-box-store, and replace later with brass hose capBuy:Brass hose caps at Amazon|
|Wait to turn on breaker||Wait .Do NOT turn power On.until tank is full:Wait for tank to fillWater heater elements must be emersed in water or they will burn out instantlyBurn out is called dry fire, and is not covered by element warranty.Replace burned out element with new element.|
|Step 19:Wait for tank to fillOpen bathtub spout ON HOT SIDE onlyAfter water heater fills with water, water will start to come out bathtub valve40 gallon tank might fill in 15-20 minutes or less|
|Tub is running on HOT side. Tank is full.✔Bathtub hot water side is running with no air gapsturn off tub momentarily open TP valve on water heater to bleed last of waterturn on circuit breaker|
|Step 20: Turn power OnTurn on breakerput ear against water heater bubbly fizzing sound says it’s workingwait 10 minutes to see if water is getting hot.Put EAR against side of tank and listen for bubbly fizzing sound4500 watt tank heats 21 gallons per hour 40 gallon tank will take 2 hours to fill completely|
|Job is finished|
|Step 21: What if tank is not working?Read ‘repaired water heater is not working’|
How To Clean A Water Heater The Simple Way
We can talk about preventing water heater sediment for hours on end, but if you want a sure-fire, long-term solution, consider installing a water softening system. This works by eliminating the ions that are responsible for hardening your water (and thus affecting your appliances, plumbing, and even have health effects). Those dissolved ions, calcium and magnesium, are removed and swapped for sodium ions during the purification process. In the long term, though, water softening systems are a more expensive solution that requires more time and effort to install and maintain.
Make an appointment with us for a free water quality demonstration to check that your water heater is operating at peak efficiency.
Being proactive in reducing sediment buildup can save you money on costly maintenance fixes and will help to maintain the quality of your drinking water. Give us a call if you have any questions concerning the condition of your water heater or the accumulation of silt in it. Topics:
How To Clean Your Water Heater: The Basics
If you’ve read our article on drinking tap water in Phoenix, you’ll know that the water that arrives at your house in Arizona (or any other state in the United States, for that matter) includes silt, minerals, and chemicals. In the course of time, these impurities might accumulate in your water heater, causing it to operate inefficiently. Inefficiencies such as inconsistent heating, an element that fails to stay lighted, and a blocked drain valve are all examples of inefficiencies. All of these will result in bills that are greater than planned.
The most effective technique to avoid this is to flush the system on a regular basis.
How Often Should You Flush Your Water Heater?
At the absolute least, you’ll want to flush the system once a year, if not more frequently. However, it is dependent on the composition of your local water supply as well as the equipment you have in your house. If you want to know more about the drinking water in your region, contact the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). If you have a high-efficiency water softener installed, your heater may not need to be flushed as frequently since the softener will lower the amount of sediment in the water.
As a result, if you do not have a water softener installed, you may want to flush the heater as frequently as once or twice a month or two in order to prevent problems.
Signs It’s Time To Flush Your Water Heater
Water heater flushing on a regular basis is a successful technique, but it is also beneficial to be aware of the warning signals that suggest a flush is necessary in order to avoid costly repairs later on. Here’s a brief review on what each of these indications means.
You Can’t Get Hot Water
If you are having trouble getting hot water from your heater, it is possible that sediment has accumulated within it to the point where it is either preventing the element from lighting or stopping the heat from passing to your water. Regardless of the situation, this is a hint that you need to flush the heating system.
Your Water Heater Is Making Strange Sounds
It is possible that silt can cluster together and create calcified stones that will smash against the sides of your water heater in areas where water is very harsh. This is a warning indication that you should flush the heater before the stones grow to such a size that they choke the drain line.
Your Water Smells Funny
While sediment accumulation is often the most serious issue you should be concerned about when cleaning your water heater, germs can also form within a tank that has not been flushed in a long period of time if the tank has not been cleaned. This bacteria has the potential to cause a strange odor in your water. Not only will you need to flush the tank, but you’ll also need to sterilize it, which we’ll go over in more detail in the next section.
How To Clean Your Hot Water Heater: The Process
When cleaning your water heater, you will need to open many taps around your home and allow the water to drain entirely out of the tank.
This is a necessary part of the process. Cleaning your hot water heater is actually pretty simple if you follow the correct procedures. You’ll discover that these procedures become second nature to you as time goes on.
Step1: Prepare The Heater For Flushing
Before you do anything else, be sure that the thermostat on your water heater is turned off. For many tanks, merely switching to “Pilot” mode will suffice to get the desired results. As a result, you will not have to go through the hassle of reactivating the pilot light, which is a simple but time-consuming task. You will also avoid the need to turn off the gas if you follow this procedure. It will be necessary to turn off the electricity to your water heater if you have one. The proper switch will be located on the device.
The valve for this operation is normally found on top of the heater, which makes sense.
Step2: Open The Hot Water Faucets In Your Home
This will aid in the drainage of the tank. If you do not complete this step, a vacuum will build in your tank, which will keep the water trapped within. It’s a strange physics effect, similar to how water remains caught in a straw if you maintain your finger on the tip of the straw while drinking.
Step3: Connect A Hose To Your Tank’s Drain Valve
The drain valve should be situated near the bottom of the tank, preferably on the side. In order to avoid damaging your home’s foundation, you’ll want this hose to either lead into a very large container or (ideally) to the outside and away from it. If you use a little bucket, you run the chance of flooding your basement or the area where the tank is located, which is not ideal. If your basement has a drain, you may be able to divert the water to it by placing the other end of your hose near the drain and directing it there.
Step4: Open The Drain Valve And Let The Tank Empty
Depending on how much sediment has accumulated in your tank, you may be able to see bits of sediment being discharged from it as they pass through. With increased frequency of cleaning, you’ll be able to determine whether or not you’re maintaining a high level of consistency based on the quantity of sediment that comes out.
Not Getting Any Water Out Of The Tank? Try This!
You will not see any flow if you open the drain valve when there has been an excessive buildup of silt in the tank, which has clogged the drain valve. To correct the situation, use a wet/dry shop vacuum to remove the obstruction. The majority of the time, this will enough. If it does not, the situation may necessitate the involvement of a professional.
Step5: Reactivate The Cold Water Supply
If you open the drain valve and there is no flow, this is an indication that silt has accumulated so extensively within the tank that it has clogged the drainage valve. Dislodging the obstruction can be accomplished with a wet/dry shop vacuum. The majority of the time, this will be sufficient. Otherwise, the problem may necessitate the services of a professional.
Step6: Shut The Drain Valve Off
The absence of any flow when you open the drain valve indicates that silt has built up so widely within the tank that it has clogged the drain valve. To correct the situation, a wet/dry shop vacuum should be used to clear the obstruction. Usually, this will suffice. If it does not, the problem may necessitate the involvement of a professional.
Step7: Close The Faucets After A Minute Or So
During the refilling process of your water heater’s tank, you may notice that discolored water is coming out of your faucets.
If you wait a minute or two, this should be resolved. Once this has occurred, you may turn off the faucets.
Step8: Return Your Water Heater To Its Ready State
It entails resetting the thermostat to its default setting, relighting the pilot light if you chose to turn it off, and re-connecting the electricity if you’re using an electric heater to complete the task.
How To Clean A Hot Water Heater With Vinegar
You may need to use vinegar to cut through sediment accumulation if you suspect that your water heater has become seriously clogged with sediment. As far as how to clean a hot water heater with vinegar is concerned, the procedure is simply a few steps longer than what we previously described in detail. Before you proceed with the actions outlined above, do the following.
Remove The Anode Rod
For those who fear that their water heater has become seriously clogged with sediment, using vinegar may be necessary in order to clear out the clogs. When it comes to how to clean a hot water heater with vinegar, the procedure is simply a few steps longer than what we previously described. Preparation is key before proceeding with the methods outlined above.
Use A Funnel To Place Vinegar Inside The Tank
When you remove the anode rod, you will see a hole in the area where it was previously located. This is the location where the funnel should be placed. Fill the tank with no more than four gallons of vinegar after passing it through this funnel.
Replace The Anode Rod And Activate The Cold Water Supply
Reinstall the anode rod and turn on the cold water supply again. This will cause the tank to fill up with water again. Make sure to let the tank remain with the vinegar-infused water for the whole 24-hour period. During that time, the acidity of the vinegar will begin to work its way through the sediment.
Go Through Steps1 through8
To completely remove the vinegar (as well as any sediment that should have dissolved) from your tank, follow the instructions in steps 1 through 8 to the letter.
How To Clean A Tankless Water Heater
To completely remove the vinegar (and any sediment that should have dissolved) from your tank, repeat the draining and flushing procedure detailed in steps 1 through 8.
Step1: Switch The Power And Gas Off
To begin, turn off the electricity and gas (if your tankless heater is powered by gas).
Step2: Remove The Unit’s Panel And Test The Electricity
It is possible to detect whether you have correctly unplugged the electricity from the tankless water heater by using a no-contact electrical tester. This is a safety measure in case you accidentally turned off the wrong switch on your circuit breaker. It will alert you if you have done so. Once you are positive that the electricity has been turned off, go to the following step.
Step3: Turn Off The Water Supply
Using a non-contact electrical tester, you will be able to determine whether or not you have effectively unplugged the electricity from your tankless water heater. You will be informed if you have accidentally turned off the wrong switch in your circuit breaker as a safety measure in case something goes wrong. Move on to the following step after you are convinced that the electricity has been turned off.
Step4: Connect The Hoses
In contrast to a traditional water heater with a tank, you’ll have to actually bring water into your tankless heater as part of the cleansing process.
That is why you will require two hoses. There are two connections: one links the unit to a pump (which pumps water into it) and another connects the unit to an isolation valve (catching the water as it expelled from the tank after making its way through).
Step5: Prepare A Five-Gallon Bucket With Your Pump And Hose
Prepare the vinegar by filling a five-gallon bucket halfway with vinegar and placing your pump and the open end of your second hose inside.
Step6: Let The Pump Run For An Hour
Turn on the pump and let it running continuously for an hour. The pump will circulate the vinegar through your tankless heater in a closed loop configuration. Hopefully, the steady flow (together with the acidity of the vinegar) will be powerful enough to wear away at any built-up sediment in your heater.
Step7: Remove The Pump And Activate The Cold Water Supply
You should now be able to leave the end of your second hose in the five-gallon bucket, which should be completely empty of any vinegar. Before turning off the cold water supply, let the cold water run through the system and into the bucket for about five minutes before turning it off.
Step8: Return Your Tankless Heater To Its Operational State
Disconnecting the hoses, replacing the panel, and reactivating the water supply valves are all steps in this process. The final step should be to re-establish electrical power to the device.
How To Clean Out Your Water Heater: Conclusion
By the end of this article, you should have gained an understanding of the fact that knowing how to clean out your water heater does not involve any specialist knowledge of the system. You should be able to do this task without difficulty if you follow the procedures outlined above. To summarize, let’s take a look at some of the specific considerations you’ll need to make based on the sort of water heater you have.
How To Clean An Electric Water Heater: Special Considerations
The procedure for cleaning an electric water heater is much less complicated than the procedure for cleaning a gas water heater. Because everything is powered by electricity, you won’t have to relight the pilot light when you’re finished with it.
How To Clean A Gas Water Heater: Special Considerations
As far as the proper way to clean a gas water heater is concerned, there are two important aspects to keep in mind. Before beginning the operation, you must turn off the gas valves in the house. Because turning off the thermostat will deactivate it, you will also need to relight the pilot light after you are finished.
Cleaning A Tankless Water Heater: Special Considerations
The fact that your heater does not have a reservoir for fluid means that you will need to introduce water and clean it out.
Feel Like This Is Above Your Pay Grade? Trust American Home Water and Air
The fact that your heater does not have a reservoir for fluid means that you will have to enter water and clean it out.
How to Remove Sediments from Water Heaters Easy
Learn how to remove sediments and mineral deposits from electric and natural gas water heaters in this video tutorial. Learn about the reason, symptoms, and troubleshooting steps to take in order to prevent element failure and improve performance and efficiency of your system. Examine the most effective means of avoiding the silt building problem. Get Quotes from Highly Qualified Water Heater Professionals! Get Free Estimates on Your Project!
In this article:
- What kind of sediments are they
- Problems that commonly occur as a result of silt buildup, as well as remedies Instructions on how to remove sediments and limescale from a water heater are provided. How to avoid and limit the accumulation of mineral deposits
- Highlights of the issues created by silt accumulation are as follows: A solution might be self-cleaning systems.
What are the sediments
Whether a water heater is a modern model or an older one, sediments are mineral deposits that may be discovered in the storage tank of any type of water heater. It is common to see mineral deposits in the bottom of the tank, on the heater’s components, and especially while the water is being heated in the tank. The number of deposits formed is determined by the kind of water used, the hardness of the water, and the existence and efficacy of the self-cleaning system. Sediments are present in water in solid forms such as sand or particles that have come from a well or the municipal system and have not been dissolved.
Even little particles of limescale accumulation and rust might be found. Typical rust deposits are the consequence of vigorous water action when the tank begins to corrode owing to a lack of or a failed rust protective element such as anode rods or a metal tank liner, among other things.
Common problems due to sediment build-up and solutions
In time, the sediments in the plumbing and water heaters will cover the components, such as electric heating elements and gas burners, and will block the valves, faucets, and restrict the amount of water that can be delivered to the fixtures. All of these issues can lead to decreased efficiency and performance, reduced power output, and even shorter element life; and they are a solid indication that the water heater requires cleansing and emptying (see below). Typically, consumers will complain that there is either “no hot water,” “not enough hot water,” “water temperature changes,” or that there is “popping, rumbling, or sizzling sounds,” among other things.
Even if the noise fades as a result of the change in water scale structure, this does not rule out the need for tank cleansing; nevertheless, it should be noted that the tank or heating elements may fail.
Deliming is an essential procedure that must be included in the routine maintenance and repair of a vehicle or other equipment.
How to remove sediments and limescale from a water heater
To flush water containing sediments, use a drain valve. If your water heater is not operating as expected, or if you hear the peculiar sounds within the heater, as described above, you must take the necessary steps to resolve the problem. Deposits are frequently loose, which makes it simple to remove them. If you leave the water scale on for an extended period of time, it will solidify and become more difficult to remove. One method of removing sediments from a tank-type heater, including limescale, is to dissolve the residue in a delimer solution, such as phosphoric acid or vinegar, and then flush the solution out of the heater.
To dissolve limescale, let the vinegar on the surface for several hours, and then rinse it out.
The reduction of hot water temperature can help to inhibit the production of limescale, while the installation of a water softener can greatly lower the hardness of the water, which can have an impact on the anode rod.
YouTube video: How to clean flush and drain sediments from a water heater
Because of all of the factors listed above, prevention is the best course of action. The flushing and draining operations are part of the preventative and routine maintenance. The technique is outlined in detail here, and it looks somewhat like this – in brief, it goes like this:
- Turn off the electricity to the water heater (this is especially important if the water heater is an electric one)
- When using a gas-powered water heater, turn the gas valve off or put it to “Pilot” mode. Turn off the cold water faucet. Using one end of the garden hose, connect it to the drain valve situated at the bottom of your unit, and connect it to another safe drain point nearby, such as a basement floor drain or a sump pump pit. Pour hot water into the tank to avoid a vacuum from building up inside the tank while it is being drained. To drain the water from the water heater, open the drain valve and turn it on. The tank should be half-filled with cold water and then completely emptied again if there are still sediments within (drained water is not clear). Cold water will release the remaining sediments, and the water stream will flush them away in this manner.
The following are the tools you will need to complete the job:
- Hose for the garden
- Socket wrench
- Teflon tape
- Scrubbing brush
Take note that, in the case of electric water heaters, if the water is drained from the tank and the power is switched back on, the heating element will be exposed to the air, which will ultimately cause the element to burn out completely. As a result, turn off the electricity. Additionally, it is critical to have the tank completely filled with water and to bleed out all of the air from the tank using the TPR valve and hot water tap. When the hot water tap is turned on, the water should be running continuously for a few minutes.
Highlights of the problems caused by the sediment buildup
- Due to a lack of sufficient hot water deposits, the insulating layer between the heating elements and water is not formed, resulting in a reduction in the contact surface and heat transmission. Noisy operation – sizzling and hissing are common characteristics of electric water heaters, while rumbling and pounding are common characteristics of gas and oil-fired water heaters. a longer time for heating to occur
- The life of the heater has been reduced. Efficiencies have been reduced. As a result of increasing energy use, operating costs have risen significantly.
How some water heater manufacturers fix the sediment build-up problem
The following are examples of how several major water heater manufacturers in North America are addressing issues that arise when sediment and limescale deposits build up in the tank’s interior. The AO Smith water heating firm has developed a patented automated cleaning system called DynaCleanis. The use of a specially constructed dip tube that generates cold water turbulence in the tank considerably reduces the accumulation of sediments and lime buildup caused by hard water. Developed by Bradford White, the Hydrojet Total Performance Device is a patented system that resists mineral accumulation in the tank while also prolonging the first hour delivery time.
All of these self-cleaning systems contribute to improved operational efficiency and tank life extension, while also maintaining high energy efficiency and increasing production while conserving energy and money.
In the event you possess a tank-type water heater, you should not disregard sediment building, even if it is in its early stages. Sediment building is not dangerous as long as the water is soft; but, if the water is hard and the system has been ignored for a long period of time, deposits can cause the system to become inefficient, valves to become blocked, metal tanks to rust, and finally the tank to leak. Even if there are some suggestions for breaking up the accumulation and eliminating the deposits from the tank, the simplest and most safest method is to maintain (empty and flush) the unit on a regular basis because prevention is the key to success.
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- In the event you possess a tank-type water heater, you should not disregard sediment building, even if it is in the early stages. As long as the water is soft, sediment building is not a problem
- But, if the water is hard and the system is neglected for a long period of time, deposits can cause the system to become inefficient, valves to become blocked, metal tanks to rust, and finally the tank to leak. While there are some suggestions for breaking up the accumulation and eliminating the deposits from the tank, the simplest and most safest method is to maintain (empty and flush) the unit on a regular basis because prevention is the key to avoiding problems in the future. Water Heater Estimates from the Best in the Business! Estimates are provided at no charge.
How To Drain Your Water Heater to Remove Sediment
If you are going on a lengthy vacation, should you empty your water heater? (NOTE: Perhaps, or perhaps not! (Click HERE to read NH’s thoughts on this matter!) A customer contacted me around 15 years ago, requesting that I remove an orphan hot water tank that had been sitting in her basement for more than 20 years. The removal of old tanks from the basement is something that some people don’t bother with. They just replace the old one with a new one adjacent to it. You’re right. over there in the corner, next to the rusted ’62 Chevy, is where it’s at!
My guess is that they designed the house around the antiquated water heater.
Anyway, I was surprised to see that the tank had more than two feet of silt at the bottom when I removed the top of the container. The ancient well that had served this home for so many years had certainly brought up a lot of grit with it!
No, Virginia, it is not absolutely necessary to drain the gunk from the bottom of your tank every year!
However, if your water heater is only a few years old or if you have recently purchased a new house, you should empty it to see how much sediment has built in the tank. The quantity of silt that you detect in the drained water will aid you in determining the frequency with which you will flush in the future.
What is the sediment, and why is it a problem?
It is basically any solid substance that is not dissolved in water that is referred to as sediment. Typically, this is sand or other grit from a well, but it might also be anything else that has gotten into the municipal water mains. A little quantity of “stuff” is always traveling through the pipes of many municipal water systems because they are not filtered. It is in the bottom of the tank that this “stuff” collects. An enormous one-time blast of sediment can enter your property when the Water Company (applause, please) washes out its lines, and this might cause flooding.
- This is the method through which sediment is removed from the main lines.
- Most water providers make an effort to notify homeowners when flushing is taking place in their region, and they encourage them not to run the water.
- Small accumulations of silt do not pose a severe threat to the environment.
- The majority of individuals have heard or been instructed at some point not to drink hot water from the faucet, but many are ignorant of the rationale for this.
- As you may be aware, hot water has the ability to dissolve compounds that would otherwise remain insoluble in cold water, and in higher amounts.
- All the more incentive to maintain the sediment level in the tank at a bare minimum.
Clearing sediment from the hot water tank:
Note from NH: Replacing the factory-installed drain valve can significantly improve the efficiency with which your water heater drains. Curious? More information may be found here. 1) Choose the one that best suits your water heater. whether to use gas or electricity:
- Turn off the electricity to the water heater if it is still plugged in. This is quite important. If an electric heating element is turned on while the water heater is not submerged in water, it will burn out, perhaps resulting in the need to replace the complete water heater. If you have a gas hot water heater, you may be able to complete this operation while keeping the gas switched on, but on the lowest temperature setting. You must not, however, allow the tank to deplete to more than 3/4 of its capacity. If you use a bucket to measure the amount of water you drain, this will be much easy to determine. For your first flushing of your tank, though, I would recommend a complete flush, which would need turning the gas to “pilot,” which will take longer. Instead of depleting the tank completely, you may conduct “touchups” later by draining a section of it down.
Remove the COLD water supply to the tank by turning it off. 3) Connect a garden hose to the drain valve located at the bottom of the tank and turn it on. Drain the water via the hose to a convenient spot. If you’re using a low-cost garden hose, proceed with caution. When hot water is passed through them, some of them become extremely mushy and may even leak! Those of you who do not have a sump pit in your basement or a drain in the basement floor have my sympathy. With a bucket, this drain-down process might take a long time!
and use caution if you are using a soft plastic bucket.
4) Turn on any faucet that has hot water on it, if possible.
Miller’s time has come.
NOTE: If the drain valve becomes clogged, switch on the cold water supply to the tank in order to “blast” through the obstruction with high pressure water.
Because of the churning motion of the cold water in the tank, more sediment will be loosen up in the tank as a result of this.
Moreover, when sediment begins to jam the drain valve, you should switch on the cold water supply to the tank, which will aid in loosening the silt and blasting it out of the tank’s interior.
Look at the water coming out of the drain.
Close the drain valve and enable the tank to fill by turning on the cold water supply valve and turning it on.
You may now re-start the water heating system by turning on the power or gas.
This is dependent on the quality and source of your water supply.
It is recommended to do a partial drain down once a year if there is any sediment in the tank, and once every two to three years otherwise.
Keep in mind that when using an electric water heater, you must cut off the electricity! Even a partial drain down may cause the higher heating element to be exposed to the air, resulting in irreparable damage.
Is there any way to keep this sediment from accumulating in the tank?
It is possible to earn significant savings by installing a whole-house filtration system, especially if you have turbid well water. If you have some basic plumbing abilities, they are quite simple to install and may assist to decrease silt collection while also extending the life of all your plumbing fixtures and appliances. They are also rather inexpensive. Of course, depending on the fury with which your filtration system operates, certain dissolved minerals may still collect in the tank over time, albeit in less substantial quantities.